Hillary Rodham Clinton, mulling a 2016 presidential run and back in her native Chicago on Wednesday, said that ISIL represents a greater threat to the U.S. than al-Qaida.
“ISIL is a serious threat because this is the best funded, most professional, expansionist Jihadist military force that we have ever seen,” Clinton told a packed Fairmont Hotel ballroom, speaking before the Economic Club of Chicago.
“This is far more advanced and far richer that al-Qaida ever was. And it now has established control over areas that straddle the border between Iraq and Syria. In many ways this new entity, I refuse to call it the Islamic State. It is neither Islamic nor a state and it should not be referred to as such,” she said of the group also known as the Islamic State, an “inheritor,” she said, of al-Qaida.
ISIL poses a threat, not only to the stability of Iraq and Syria, but also to areas in Turkey “and it has a potential ripple effect far beyond,” said the former Secretary of State. “And there is no doubt in my mind that it will attempt to launch attacks against Western targets if it has the ability to do so,” she said.
Clinton, who grew up in north suburban Park Ridge, was in Chicago for multiple events.
Before appearing at the Economic Club, where she was interviewed by her longtime friend J.B. Pritzker — the brother of Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker — she raised $500,000 for Gov. Pat Quinn at a fundraiser at the law firm of Power, Rogers and Smith at 70 W. Madison.
After that, Clinton and Quinn stopped for what essentially was a photo op for Quinn at a nearby DePaul University bookstore in the Loop.
Earlier, Clinton delivered a paid talk at the at AdvaMed 2014, a medical technology conference at McCormick Place.
Clinton during the Economic Club conversation was never asked a direct question about her 2016 presidential plans. She did tell a story about two influential men in her life – former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.
Obama offered his former Democratic primary rival the Secretary of State job – in Chicago while he was president-elect and running the transition from the city. Clinton recounted how she turned down Obama several times before accepting the cabinet post. As for men she said no to, Clinton also recalled to the delighted crowd, “I told my husband no, I wouldn’t get married” but “I just gave in.
“I have a history of charismatic attractive men who just wear me out.”
Both were good decisions, Clinton added.
On Tuesday, first lady Michelle Obama headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for Quinn and raised $300,000 for his campaign. And on last Thursday, President Barack Obama raised more than $1 million for Quinn at a fundraiser in Chicago.
CLINTON CHICAGO FACTS
Clinton was born Oct. 26, 1947, at the old Edgewater Hospital, 5700 N. Ashland. ….Her first home was at 5722 N. Winthrop, near Ardmore Beach.